Sigune Hamann, film-strip (Harajuku,Tokyo) 2003

Residency at the V&A and Tokyo Wonder Site

CCW Reader in Art and Media Practice, Sigune Hamann, is looking at ways panoramic images are displayed and experienced. As part of her residency at the V&A she is taking photographic film-strips of visitors in the galleries. Film-strips are exposed in one continuous rewinding process using an analogue SLR camera.

'I focus on the moment when a common goal directs crowds in a common movement, physical and psychological.' Hamann's residency at the V&A and parallel residency at Tokyo Wonder Site involve taking panoramic film-strips in galleries and public spaces.

The shift in the perception of images in digital environments is mirrored in visitors' expectations and abilities to process exhibitions. Hamann researches exhibiting and experiencing panoramic seamless images in relation to the scanning movements of our eyes in the perception process at a time when we experience content in visual culture increasingly as fragmented.

As in panoramic scrolls the viewer can experience an unrestricted continuous image plane in film-strip installations and online projects (, where they choose moments in the narrative and the speed of viewing – a process of reading that becomes increasingly relevant with digital developments.

Based at the Digital Programmes departments (Learning) at the V&A, Hamann is working with curators at East Asian and Theatre and Performance Departments. The project is funded through an Entrepreneur-in-Residence scheme by Creative Works London.

For the film-strips Hamann uses an analogue photographic camera, like a movie camera, to produce one long panoramic image. She exposes a whole roll of 35mm film in one rewinding movement while she moves 360 degrees. The first film-strip exhibited was taken in Tokyo at twilight.

During her residency at Tokyo Wonder Site in the new location in Tatekawa east Tokyo Sigune explored the construction of personal space in Japanese culture.

She observed commuters in Tokyo stations and took part in many demonstrations which have become much more frequent since Fukushima in 2011. She captured moments in film-strips when multi-directional movement in crowds becomes homogenous and individual bodies form the body of the crowd.

Sigune discussed the connections of film-strips with panoramic formats in Japanese culture with curators at the Idemidsu Museum Tokyo and at the National Museum Kyoto to whom she was introduced by Rupert Faulkner, senior Curator of Japanese Art V&A.

Sigune Hamann, film-strip (student demonstration Tokyo 2014)

In Tokyo and Kyoto Hamann saw several of the original scrolls of the 12th and 13th century rarely exhibited and started a new photographic series taken from her 6th floor apartment inspired by the Japanese style of the blown off roof technique (fukinuki yatai), which developed as a radical perspective where the environment is heightened like a sloped stage. This perspective gives us a view from the outside with just a hint of the individual human presence in this scenery suggesting narratives.

Sigune Hamann, blown off roof, Tatekawa, Series of photographs, 57 x 38 cm 2014

Illustrated handscroll of the Diary of Murasaki Shikibu, 13th century, Gotoh Museum Tokyo

Top image: Sigune Hamann film-strip (Harajuku,Tokyo) 2003

Video credit: Sigune Hamann, animated film-strip (V&A, Raphael Cartoons Gallery, Friday Late) 2015

First image: Sigune Hamann, film-strip (student demonstration Tokyo 2014)

Second image: Sigune Hamann, blown off roof, Tatekawa, Series of photographs, 57 x 38 cm 2014

Third image: Illustrated handscroll of the Diary of Murasaki Shikibu, 13th century, Gotoh Museum Tokyo

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